Nov 01, 2013
Does size or age matter when it comes to delivering a good customer experience in manufacturing?Back
Epicor|Epicor Software|IDC|New Business Solutions|Road|System|Systems|Implement Solutions|Manufacturing|Particular Product|Product|Products|Service|Solutions|Systems|Infrastructure|Martin Hill
By Martin Hill, Vice President Marketing for Epicor Software in EMEA
It shouldn’t. However, recent research by IDC Manufacturing Insights shows that 75% of the large manufacturers (5,000 employees or more) surveyed, indicated that their ERP is a vital platform for delivering a good customer experience, due to the levels of ERP integration and higher instances of single ERP systems being used. In contrast, for companies with 100–1,000 employees, over 90% of respondents indicated that their ERP has limited, little or no contribution towards the delivery of a good customer experience.
A customer centric culture should not be exclusive to the big boys. Every company, regardless of size, should be endeavouring to apply and optimise the right technology to help put customers at the very heart of their business.
At its simplest it should be about making quality products at a competitive price, having short production lead times and delivering on time, every time. But increasingly it’s more than just about features, price and delivery, it’s about collaboration and relationship with customers – how they order goods or interact with you to adjust orders or raise an issue. And then there is the internal aspect that can enhance this customer experience. Accessing and analysing data to provide insight and decision making capabilities relating to customer orders, for example, or understanding how many customer complaints have been logged around a particular product or service. To be successful, the data needs to be available anywhere and anytime but the real key is how you react to this information. Customer responsiveness is at its peak if you can respond to a situation and communicate with the customer quickly, regardless of whether you are at your desk or on the road.
These are just some of the aspects of a customer experience which can breed loyalty, repeat business and differentiation, without having to always win business based on price. Furthermore these processes and ways of working are all underpinned by the technology and functionality in the next generation of ERP systems that are available for mid-sized and smaller companies.
Available in various deployment forms and with various financing options, engaging with and serving customers better is not something that just larger companies can afford.
The fact is that the smaller companies continue to have a higher instance of home-grown, multiple ERP systems, or even no ERP at all, which is almost certainly why they say that their ERP has limited, little or no contribution towards the delivery of a good customer experience. Their often outdated and inefficient infrastructure results in data being stored in too many different IT systems that are loosely connected, making it difficult to influence customer satisfaction even at the most basic level.
Old technologies can stop a company dead in its tracks, preventing it from taking customer experience to the next level. It hinders a company and drains them of the inspiration needed for the management team to identify, justify and implement solutions that truly differentiate a company from its competitors.
If this is something you can relate to, perhaps it’s time for you to consider if this situation is stopping you serving and retaining customers in the best way possible, and what impact this has on your bottom line.
It’s not just size that matters, age is also relevant. Mature companies in mature markets are forced to move from tactics such as price and delivery to other ways of differentiating themselves. Growth for them depends on a more mature approach to customer experience to win market share, they simply don’t have a choice.
But if your market isn’t mature, if you’re growing by competing purely on price and delivery, why should you bother with customer experience beyond this? Because your market and competitors will mature around you, perhaps faster than you anticipate and those that will win in the long run will be the ones offering the superior customer experience. Adopting the right technologies and applications now means you can compete on today’s terms today, and tomorrow’s terms tomorrow.
Smart companies build a platform for today with an eye on tomorrow. They avoid having to rip-and-replace systems by working with visionary partners who have an eye focussed on the future. Their partners don’t force them to build capabilities with no immediate ROI that they don’t need today, they help them to build on their systems and add capabilities at the time they need them, like when the market matures, prices have stabilised and the customer demands a better experience. And of course they do it quickly with the intention of keeping their customers ahead of their competitors. That’s inspiring business!
With an emphasis on total cost of ownership, ERP systems for mid-sized manufacturing companies are available based on the latest technologies with the most recent application developments. With ease-of-use, responsiveness and flexibility at their very core, such systems are designed for modern manufacturers and how they need to work to stay competitive. This means that as companies grow, their customers and their ERP system can remain at the heart of the business.
New Business Solutions
Other Announcements News
Water is a vital, but scarce resource in South Africa and with decreasing water quality and available freshwater resources almost fully-utilised, industry is compelled to make careful water management a priority. Leading environmental solutions company I-CAT...
The ILWU has escalated its efforts against ICTSI Oregon, Inc. as of late, far beyond what other West Coast ports are experiencing. During the busy 2014 holiday season, ILWU engaged in approximately 36 work stoppages and slowdowns of various types and for varying...
Trimble® SPS356 DGNSS Beacon Receiver specifically designed for marine construction. This affordable, dedicated marine receiver allows contractors to achieve sub-meter accuracy using DGNSS or MSK Beacon station corrections for robust, multi-constellation positioning....
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.